Lee Berlin, Oklahoma's only private attorney that dedicates his entire practice to those individuals charged with Sex Crimes and Domestic Violence, explains just how easy it is to be charged with Sexual Battery in Oklahoma.
Today's video, super important. Stop what you're doing, you've got to listen to this right now. Every young person in America, every young person in Oklahoma, needs to hear this video. Hear the words that are coming out of my mouth YESTERDAY.
Today I'm talking about, boom, sexual battery. Let's find out how many of you committed this and you didn't even know it.
Interesting story. I'm out, meeting a client at a bar the other day, that's where they work. Manager of that bar, sitting there. And we're not talking about the case. We're talking about sexual battery in general. And I'm telling him about all the times that we're here at the bar and we see an individual get intoxicated, usually a guy, and there's an attractive woman in the room. Or, maybe not attractive at the beginning of evening, but she became more attractive over time. And this guy, while he's drunk, impaired, thinks it would be funny, cute, whatever, to accidentally trip into this girl and touch her breasts, touch her butt, do something to touch those breasts. And they think it'll be hilarious. And they do it.
Guess what? You just committed sexual battery in Oklahoma. You touched, mauled, felt, the private parts of another without their permission and that person's over 16 years old. That's sexual battery. So, if you touch them in a lewd or lascivious manner, that is evincing an eagerness for sexual indulgence, the private parts; the breasts, vagina, buttocks of another, really the body, but the breast, the buttocks, the vagina of another in a lewd or lascivious manner, you are evincing an eagerness for sexual indulgence. You did it without their permission, without their consent. You've committed a crime. And it doesn't matter if you're in a very well crowded bar. And it doesn't matter if you think she was flirting with you. If you touch her and you didn't have permission to do it, you're committing a crime.
Now, as his manager overheard our conversation, he was beside himself. "Hey, I probably see this crap happen all the time." I said, "Okay, and how many times have the police been called to this bar to arrest somebody who touched some gal?" "Uh, the Thursday after never!" Exactly. But it does happen, a lot and the police are called.
I'll tell you what, guys ... it doesn't matter if you're 16 years old and you're in high school watching this video, if you just graduated, you're going to college and you're going to be out there at parties. You're out at a fraternity party or sorority party or any kind of social gathering and you touch somebody’s who-ha and you shouldn't, it's a crime in Oklahoma. And not only is it a crime, okay, it carries up to 10 years in prison, and registration as a sex offender. Here, this is what's going to blow your mind. Oklahoma is one of the most abusive states in the country when it comes to sex offender registration laws relating to sexual battery. Almost everywhere else, even in the federal system, sexual battery is just a level one registration offense. In Oklahoma, it's level THREE. That means guys, if you're out there and you touch some gal's butt and she calls the police and you get convicted for it, at a minimum, it doesn't matter if you don't do a day in prison, you're going to have to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life.
18, 19, 20, 21 years old, your life's over before it's even gotten started. This stuff is serious. When we have managers of very well run and sophisticated bars, who are familiar with the laws and not serving intoxicated people, and they didn't know that grabbing ass in the bar would get you 10 years in prison and a lifetime registration as a sex offender; how could you have known.
Guys, I'm talking about the rest of your natural life. I'm talking about every three months having to go into law enforcement and verify where you live. I'm talking about punitive restrictions on where you can live for the rest of your life, your name on a registry, it's all over because you thought it would be fun to bury your face in some gal's boobs, or to “accidentally” touch them. Your accident, your unintentional intentional accident, could get you in prison.
Now, are there times out there, of course, when the prosecutor sees it for what it is? And absolutely sees that a just and fair resolution to this case is to not make you a sex offender for the rest of your life? Of course. But that, that benevolence, that amount of appropriate judgment and just resolution to your case is the anomaly. It is the rare exception, indeed, when you're dealing with the district attorney's office. These are the zealots out there prosecuting you guys. You think I'm trying to make this stuff up and I'm making it more than it really is? No. To see young men and women whose lives have not even begun, wiped out by a brand-new prosecutor and an ignorant criminal defense attorney. It's real and it's scary.
Why are you spending so much time on sexual battery? It's like the lowest of the low in the charges. You think it is. We've all probably done it. Unintentionally, out there committing felonies, registrable offenses. So, I want to tell you now, young men, young women, guys ... the ways that we can get in trouble with our legislature, well they just love to keep racking them up. And this change is one of the ugliest, one of the most painful, one of the most ruthless ways they can ruin your life.
So, before you go out there, whether you're social distancing or not, whether you have any plans of hooking up. You go out there and you touch somebody without consent and you did it sexually, touched her private parts of that body. You're in trouble.
Now, this just doesn't extend to the public. This also extends to law enforcement. It extends to schoolteachers. There are special provisions of the sexual battery laws and criminal statutes in Oklahoma that make the relationship of certain persons and parties different. So if you're in law enforcement, let's say you're a corrections officer, or let's say you're a deputy at a jail, or a police officer. You come in contact with an individual and that individual comes into your custody and care. Come on. It doesn't matter if you guys have the most special connection in the world and sparks fly. While that individual is in the care and the custody of the state of Oklahoma, you can't touch them. You can't kiss them. You can't do anything that is sexual with that person or you're looking at catching, at a minimum, a sexual battery charge. And it's ruthless and it's painful.
If you're a school teacher ... oh, stay away from your students. I don't care how old they are. Because these numbers, go up to 19 for students. Okay? If you're in a special relationship, you're out there bringing foster kids into the home or adopting children, come on. You know there are special rules and regulations that apply to you.
Really, today though, this message isn't for the law enforcement professionals. This isn't for the school teachers who know better. This is for those of us out there that live our day, day in and day out, and have no idea that what is seemingly ... guy's fun ... is a frickin felony that could ruin your life. This stuff's serious as a heart attack. Guys keep your damn hands in your pockets or on your drink when you're in the bar.